Have you ever experienced a breakdown in communications with a client? Many times, communication problems occur when client’s expectations don’t match up with the reality of a situation. What can you do to prevent these kinds of communications challenges?
Trying to manage your client’s expectations in real estate can be tricky. Your client might not have a solid understanding of the market, or could be working off of mistaken assumptions or misinformation. They might think that their house should be selling for far more than realistic and fair market value, or they might think that they should be able to get a new home for an unrealistically low price.
Here are a few ways that you manage your client’s expectations while maximizing the level of communication between you:
1. Ask Them Their Expectations
It’s common that some buyers and sellers don’t have realistic expectations when first entering the market. They could also have some mistaken opinions about what your role as a realtor really is, what they feel they’re willing to settle for price-wise, or how quickly they should be able to buy/sell a house. Some clients’ expectations might come from watching reality television shows about home makeovers and flipping properties.
It’s amazing the number of misunderstandings that can be avoided if you simply ask your client directly about their expectations right off the top. By asking your clients what they expect, you can address problems before their assumptions get out of hand.
It’s best not to “correct” them, which can seem condescending. Simply tell them the reality of the market as it is today. They might be a little deflated once they hear that their expectations just aren’t realistic, but that’s better than the anger and frustration that could result later on if their false expectations carry on too long.
Asking direct questions during your initial consultation can help to address these realities. Walk your clients through the entire process, from the beginning to the closing day, and answer any questions they may have.
2. Educate Them About the Internet
The internet is possibly the greatest communication tool ever created. We now have information available at our fingertips in an instant. However, the issue of false news is becoming more and more clear. There’s an awful lot of misleading and inaccurate information about real estate on the internet.
False information can be a nightmare for a realtor who has clients trolling the internet for information about buying or selling their house. Some of your clients might accept what they read as fact, even if it’s out of date information or simply complete nonsense. You obviously can’t take away their computer privileges, but you can warn them that much of the information out there on the net isn’t accurate and might even be more harmful than helpful. If they have any questions, suggest that they come to you first and then, if they want, they can “verify” the information you provide using the internet.
3. Build Trust in the Relationship
In any client-realtor relationship, there needs to be a heavy element of trust between you. For many of your clients, this will be one of the biggest purchases they’ve ever made. For others, they could be letting go of their home of many years. It’s understandable they might feel a little on edge and uncomfortable.
You may occasionally need to reassure your clients that you have their best interests at heart. Be sure to communicate regularly with them, even if there’s no real news to share. Get to know a bit about their family life, their hobbies, and what’s going on in their lives aside from the real estate. Being in contact helps to strengthen the relationship so that, when the time comes, they’ll listen and trust your advice rather than seeking a second opinion from another agent who might over-promise or muddle the situation. Having a solid relationship with your clients should be a top priority.
4. Don’t Oversell
You know the old saying “Under-promise and over-deliver”? It applies perfectly when you’re working with clients in real estate.
When you’re dealing with large amounts of money and beautiful houses, it can be easy for people to get excited. Don’t tell people that it’s a “great time to buy” when it really isn’t. Don’t heavily insinuate that you can talk down the price on a prospective property when you can’t.
It boils down to always telling your clients the truth, even when they don’t want to hear it and you don’t want to tell it. Keep everything within the realm of reality and your clients will have a much smoother ride and will trust you more in the process.
5. Have Empathy for Their Experience
You’re a real estate agent who works in this business every single day. You know the ins and the outs, the secrets, and the tricks of the trade. Your clients, on the other hand, probably have absolutely no idea what’s really going on.
The world of real estate can be overwhelming to many people and, as their realtor, you can seem like their only lifeline. If they get scared, get cold feet, or want to make an unwise decision, try to understand why. Where is the fear coming from? If you understand what they’re going through and empathize with their situation, you can give them the best possible advice in a way that they will actually hear.
Let your clients know that you understand how they feel and reassure them that you’ll get through the stressful times together. Tell them that they can count on you to explain everything, and if they have any questions at any time, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask you. Empathy is one of the most valuable traits a real estate agent, or anyone in sales, can have. If you understand them, you can help them.
Taking Care of your Customers
The fact is that the customer is not always right, at least not in the details. Of course their overall desires, hopes, and needs are absolutely the most important things, but it’s up to you as a professional to manage their expectations and acquaint them with the reality of the real estate market. When you’re open honest, authentic, informative, and helpful, you’ll have the best chance of managing their expectations and steering them to the finish line to help them reach their ultimate goals.